Just One More Day

by | May 26, 2002 | Gratitude, Thankfulness

Not long ago, my husband and I attended a funeral of a friend, who had been killed by a car while riding his Harley motorcycle. His name was

Don Burns. He was a wonderful husband, father, brother, son and friend. He was taken from us without warning, in an instant.

No one had a chance to say “Good bye” or “I love you.”

It was amazing to see the number of people that filled the church to remember Don and comfort his family. My heart broke as I sat there listening to friends and family members (including his only daughter) share stories of his life, and what kind of impact he had on their own.

I gazed upon the photograph of the young man of 42 years, placed in the front of the congregation, with two lit candles embracing the frame. The realization of the frailty of mortal life pressed hard upon my soul.

There was no music except for the heart-wrenching sounds of one man playing AMAZING GRACE on his bagpipes. The beautiful floral arrangements in the background appeared to hold their breath as we listened. When the last note died away, silence filled the air. For a moment, it felt as if time had stopped.

At one point, Don’s brother stood and spoke of the last events and conversations that occurred before Don’s death. He ended with “Don’t let a day go by without telling your family and friends how much they mean to you … How much you love them … It may be your last chance to do so. Let the petty things go, and make the most of what matters.”

I looked at my husband, Mark, and noticed tears welling in his eyes. I knew the words had touched his heart also. We silently recalled the many days of trifle arguments in the past, when we allowed the sun to go down on our anger, before making right what was wrong. There was an acute awareness hitting us both: “What if we had not been given another day to fix it?”

I reached over and gently placed my hand in his, feeling the warmth of his life flowing through my own, as tears fell from our eyes. We didn’t have to speak at that moment. It was clear that we heard each other’s heart. And I closed my eyes, and softly mouthed the words of prayer, “Thank you Lord.”

The “Here today and gone tomorrow” truism weighed heavily, as I watched

Don’s only child lift her Daddy’s photograph, and clutch it to her chest tightly, as if by this small gesture, she could hold onto him forever. His wife, Gina, of 25 years, lovingly put her arm around her daughter, and an amazing sense of strength seemed to radiate from the two of them. All the memories, laughter, tears and love were being tenderly tucked away in their hearts. They had invested well, and in the end, held onto treasures of time.

Finally, the flames of the candles were extinguished. The light was gone. Slowly the room, where, for the last hour, a man’s life had been retold, revisited and revived, began to empty. The flowers were carried out, as family and friends clung to one another, weeping, comforting and praying. It was over.

Because our dear friend, Don, was to be cremated, there was no graveside ceremony. The many biker friends, who had come to say goodbye to this young Christian comrade, all started their motorcycles in unison. The rest of us just stood there motionless while the stifling sound of the engines faded slowly into the air as they rode off together. Goodbye my friend.

It was a sunny March day and yet darkness was inevitably going to fall.

Walking hand in hand back to our car to go to Don’s home with the family, my husband and I stepped in unison. We looked at each other, smiled and said,

“I love you.” We vowed, never again, to let a day go by without those words being expressed to each other and the ones that mean so much to us. We knew we had been given a sweet and tender gift of a lifetime in becoming man and wife, and that gift needed to be nurtured.

Life has now taken on a deeper meaning for me. I reflected on the fact, that the older we got, the more funerals we would probably attend. The days seemed to go by faster, and the hours have moved swiftly. Too much time has been wasted on trivialities.

Many words have crossed our eyes to remind us of the brevity of life and the need to express our love and tenderness to those around us, but have we really heard the message? Death is the one thing that speaks volumes to our hearts.

So when the last day comes for one of us to leave this life, may feelings of regret be far from us. May our hearts and minds be filled with sweet memories of laughter and fullness, and may we close our eyes at the end of the day, knowing that we gave more than we took. May the tears fall that day, only because we loved them and missed them, not because we missed the chance to actually show it or say it.

For now, may we be thankful … for just one more day.

Ginger Boda Rhymerbabe@aol.com


Just One More Day